I am in favor of the proposed development plan of the McMillan site for a variety of reasons:
1) If the city is going to make itself more livable and affordable, we need to increase the overall supply of housing. This plan adds at least 735 units.
2) Of course the industrial heritage of the site merits careful consideration. This plan preserves a representative number of the sand filtration storage silos and internal vaults to properly reflect this era`s water filtration technology. Moreover, the plan does so in a useful and integrated way. Open space by itself has some value but this plan creates more meaningful open space that will engender lots of use by a wide variety of people. Some have said we need to maintain the ``water filtration capacity`` of this site. To be generous, this is simply not possible unless the District (and we as taxpayers) spend millions of dollars to restore a system that is insufficient both in capacity and technology, no matter how nostalgic we may be. I might add that the city is losing both physical pieces and public access to a far superior historic landscape to the District/Federal Government development at St. Elizabeth`s with but a fraction of the discussion consumed by McMillan.
3) One of the most vociferous opponents and cheerleaders for the neighborhood NIMBYs of this development works for The Catholic University of America. The CUA has its own development agenda as anyone who takes a walk around the Brookland Metro Station will see. It seems obvious to this writer that the University is perfectly happy having a faculty member touting what is essentially a travelogue of unrelated ideas--not anywhere near a ``plan``. For the NIMBYs, though it is adequate ``proof`` that other options exist. Never mind that the travelogue has no spatial, economic or environmental rigor. It is disingenuous for the CUA to play a role in this discussion as they have a clear conflict of interest--their development becomes more valuable with McMillan undeveloped amid the endless ``Groundhog Day`` of meetings, citizen groups and ANC commissioner-pandering.
4) The merits of the City`s purchase of this property and the amount paid are history. The fact is that the city bought the property to develop. Without adequate, viable economic use of this city resource, the city does not have revenue for more affordable housing, libraries, schools, parks and playgrounds, fire and public safety as well as historic preservation.
As a member of the ICOMOS scientific committee on Cultural Towns and Villages and a long standing advocate of historic preservation, it saddens me to see this site sit for years while the same arguments cycle and cycle like so many hamster wheels. This plan is well thought-out, sensitive to environmental, historic and economic conditions and most importantly, creates a place of lasting value for future generations to enjoy, while preserving the essence of the tangible and intangible value that the McMillan site represents. I urge you to review it carefully. If you look at it without prejudice you will see the thought, experience and sensitivity that it represents, and I believe you will also support it.
Jeff S., FAICP
And here is a subsequent post by Jeff:
The number on the DC Government site,
http://dmped.dc.gov/DC/DMPED/Programs+and+Initiatives/Neighborhood+Revitalization/Ward+Five/McMillan+Sand+Filtration+Site , for the cost the entire development is $700 million, so $47 million over 5 years would represent about a 7% investment. I will investigate in more detail, but the number does not seem on the face of it to be an unreasonable contribution considering the tax base of 1.1 million square feet of commercial, retail and residential, especially if the city is going to use 30 year bonds or Tax Increment Financing. I wonder how many Ward 5 Council candidates know the difference between a TIF and a general obligation bond? Or what a proforma is for that matter...LOL